Prostate cancer is now detected earlier than ever because of the introduction of a simple blood test in 1987 called the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test. However, the treatment options for prostate cancer radical prostatectomy, external beam radiation, and brachytherapy have no evidence of clear mortality benefit over expectant treatment (i.e., observation). Moreover, the treatments can lead to serious side effects, including urinary incontinence, impotence, and bowel urgency.
It is widely assumed that men make treatment decisions based on medical considerations, such as age, other existing conditions, and the grade of the tumor. Investigators led by Thomas Denberg, M.D., Ph.D. of the University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center in Denver reviewed data from 27,920 Hispanic, non-Hispanic, white, and black men without underlying conditions who were registered in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) cancer database.
The investigators found that sociocultural and racial factors independently predicted treatment. Caucasian, black, and Hispanic patients were equally likely to receive curative treatments over "watchful waiting" but while Caucasian and Hispanic men were more likely to choose prostatectomy, black men were more likely to be treated with radiation. Independently, marriage was also an important predictor of treatment: married men in all three groups were much more likely than unmar
Contact: David Greenberg
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